You have worked your entire college career with the hopes of getting that phone call or letter in the mail that tells you those three magic words: You are in. If you are anything like I was after being accepted to dental school, you are over the moon. Here are the three things I wish I knew before starting dental school:
Whether you are a student dentist, new graduate, or experienced practitioner, we are always looking for ways to improve our clinical skills and provide the utmost quality of care to our current and future patients. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 49,000 new cases of cancer will occur in the oral cavity and oropharynx this year, with more than 9,500 deaths occurring as a result. A majority of these malignancies will be diagnosed as oral squamous cell carcinoma. As such, one of our most important duties as dentists is to conduct thorough evaluations to prevent unnecessary suffering and increase the chances of successful cancer treatment.
Most students and faculty who organize and participate in overseas mission trips are motivated by the sincere desire to help others. Often they pay for their own travel through combinations of personal assets, donations and active fundraising. I think these mission trips are well-intended acts of caring. However, as a public health dentist I question the decision to spend so much time and money providing services that generally do very little to eliminate the underlying disease process, do not empower communities to improve their health status and waste resources on travel that might be spent in a much more cost-effective way to achieve improved oral health.
Many people have a tendency to think about healthy behaviors in black-and-white extremes: chocolate is bad, carrots are good; missing a few daily walks means you’ve fallen off the wagon; a scale that won’t budge means your health is spiraling out of control. This distorted thinking pattern may harm your efforts to improve your health because small setbacks may cause you to feel defeated, down and ready to give up. Here are some tips for keeping a positive long-view perspective.
A 5 year-old girl presented to our pediatric dental clinic. Her family lives three hours away, and had rented a hotel nearby to accommodate and prepare for her restorative dental procedures under general anesthesia. Due to her young age and extensive dental needs, sedation was the only safe and effective option at this point. She had never seen a dentist before. She was terrified, and was in a great deal of pain. She was up to date with medical check-ups and healthy otherwise, but was never referred for preventive or restorative treatment until late into her caries progression.
On behalf of ADA student members insurance plans, Great-West Financial® is excited to be the exclusive sponsor of the ASDA Wellness Initiative. We’re also excited to offer you bringhealthyon.com, a wellness site created just for dental students. Visit Bring Healthy On for easy, affordable recipes like the one below, as well as smart ideas for fitting in wellness while you’re in dental school.
Dental school is an exciting, yet overwhelming time for most future dentists. Developing good study habits at the start of each semester will ensure you feel prepared and organized.